When you’ve been putting on all-ages shows for two decades, you’re bound to have booked some pretty exciting bands long before anyone else knew who they were.
The Garage, established in 2000, begins an extended anniversary celebration this weekend with some young guys who first kicked around the Burnsville all-ages venue as teens: Remo Drive, now signed to Epitaph Records.
“We’re reaching out to alumni,” says Jack Kolb-Williams, the executive director of Twin Cities Catalyst Music, the nonprofit that operates the Garage. “We wanted to kick it off with Remo, who started out with us when they were 13 or 14 years old. It’s amazing to see stories like that.”
Also on the agenda for this year at the Garage is a series of small outdoor festivals in Burnsville, an opportunity for young bands who aren’t yet on the festival circuit to get some experience performing in that context.
The City of Burnsville ran the Garage till 2014, when Catalyst took over the venue. Since then, there have been changes to the institution while maintaining its core mission and identity.
“We’ve changed our stance within the community; we’ve become a community meeting place,” Kolb-Williams says of the Garage's evolution. That means after school and summer school programming, as well as becoming part of the curriculum in some public schools. “We fit amazingly with arts education programs. The Burnsville district has had to close some schools. And we try to help fill that gap.”
In addition, this is a big time for Catalyst, which is also in the process of opening a second all-ages venue, at the old Swedish Bank Building, on Payne Avenue in the Payne-Phalen area on the East Side of St. Paul.
“It has the same mission and values as the Garage, but with a different scope, in a different space,” Kolb-Williams says of the new space. “We’ll be offering a lot of mentoring opportunities, workforce development and job skills. We tailored this to fit the community.”
With: Miloe, Goodnight Gorillas, Sapphire
Where: The Garage
When: 6 p.m. Sat. Jan. 25
Tickets: All ages; $18: more info here